How Open Enrollment Affects Racial Makeup in Fridley-Area School Districts
University of Minnesota study shows how enrollment flows between 'sender' and 'receiver' districts, including the Fridley, Spring Lake Park, Columbia Heights and Anoka-Hennepin districts.
Open enrollment between school districts has increased racial segregation in Twin Cities schools, according to new University of Minnesota research that includes data and analysis of school districts in and around the city of Fridley.
Click on the PDF thumbnail at right to see the report Open Enrollment and Racial Segregation by the University of Minnesota Law School's Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity.
Read or listen to Minnesota Public Radio's news report on the study .
Each of the four school districts whose boundaries include parts of the city of Fridley are mentioned in the report. Here are some excerpts—please leave a comment below.
Fridley Public Schools (District 14) are among those gaining the most students from open enrollment (OE), according to the report:
These predominantly white districts are destinations for white flight from more diverse districts. St. Anthony-New Brighton stands out by drawing large numbers of white students from Minneapolis and Columbia Heights. White open enrollment to St. Anthony represents more than one third of district’s total enrollment. ... Brooklyn Center and Fridley are diverse districts which draw large numbers of OE enrollees by filling a competitive niche in their local system of districts. ...
[Fridley and Brooklyn Center are] relatively small districts which use OE to help to create niches for themselves in the regional system of schools. ... Fridley has emphasized magnet programs in its schools—some developed in cooperation with the Northwest Suburban Integration District. As a result, each has drawn very diverse mixes of students from nearby districts through OE. In Fridley’s case OE inflows have had demographic characteristics very similar both to Fridley’s resident students and to the sending districts.
Columbia Heights Public Schools (District 13) and Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools (District 11) are among those losing the most students to OE:
[These schools are] diverse inner- and middle-suburban districts which lose substantial numbers of students. The two smallest districts in this group, Columbia Heights and Richfield, are in the midst of very rapid
racial and economic transition, a process that OE has clearly facilitated by enabling the loss of white students. The three largest districts in the group Anoka-Hennepin, Osseo and Robbinsdale, exchange large numbers of students with each other, and as a group, lose large numbers of white students to nearby, predominantly white school districts. ...
[Columbia Heights and Richfield] are each in the midst of rapid racial
change. Columbia Heights district went from 24 percent non-white and 33 percent poor students in 2000-01 to 65 percent non-white and 71 percent poor in 2009-10. ... At least partly as a result of these trends, the two districts’ net outflows from OE in 2009-10 amounted to 13 percent (Columbia Heights) and six percent (Richfield) of enrollments, significant hits to any school district’s budget and operations. In contrast, these districts lost only six and one percent of enrollments respectively to OE in 2000-01.
In Columbia Heights, large parts of the recent losses were to Fridley (256 students, 59 percent white) and St. Anthony-New Brighton (142 students, 85 percent white). Both flows increase racial differences among the three districts. Fridley, although it is a relatively diverse district, had a white student percentage 22 points higher than Columbia Heights in 2009-10, while St. Anthony-New Brighton was 78 percent white (43 points higher than Columbia
Spring Lake Park Public Schools (District 16) appear only in the report's data tables.